Pura Luka Vega out on bail after receiving over P550K in donation

James Relativo - Philstar.com
Pura Luka Vega out on bail after receiving over P550K in donation
Filipino drag queen Pura Luka Vega is detained at the Manila Police District Station 3 on Thursday after their arrest last October 4, 2023.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Drag artist Pura Luka Vega has been released from jail after receiving more than enough donations to cover the P72,000 bail required following a controversial performance.

The Manila Police District 3, in a report by ABS-CBN, confirmed releasing Amadeus Fernando Pagente, Pura's real name, on Saturday after posting bail.

The drag queen — who goes by the pronouns they/them — was arrested last Wednesday after being slapped with complaints pertaining to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 and Article 201 of the Revised Penal Code.

The complaints stemmed from singing a punk rock version of a known Catholic hymn "Ama Namin" while impersonating Jesus Christ.

Delayed release

Pagente's release was marred with delays after the court was already closed for submission of requirements last Friday.

"Pura Luka Vega will stay in police custody," said fellow drag queen Naia, who helped Pura together with other fundraisers, yesterday on X (formerly Twitter).

"The motion for bail was granted later this afternoon [Friday] after a clarificatory hearing but unfortunately, the court is already closed for the submission of the requirements for release."

Rod Singh, film director for the Amazon Prime Video show "Drag Den," on Friday said that they have already collected more than half a million in donations to bail out Pura Luka Vega.

The money came from an effort to grant Pura temporary liberty, while asserting that drag is not a crime, but an art.

It could be remembered that Pura Luka Vega was one of the season 1 contestants of Singh's "Drag Den" to crown the "Filipino's First Drag Supreme."

The two complaints against Pura were lodged in August by devotees of the Black Nazarene, known as the Hijos Del Nazareno (HDN) Central.

The group said that the "Ama Namin" performance constituted a "direct attack on our Lord, our God and savior, Jesus Christ," which they said caused them pain as Christians.

HDN earlier said that they are ready to withdraw the complaint should the drag queen issue an apology.

In July, Pura Luka Vega apologized if their performance made anyone uncomfortable. They explained that their goal was not to offend but to heal, as they faced exclusion as an LGBTQ member within the Catholic community, despite their faith in Christ.

Naia will hold a fundraising drag show on Sunday for Pura Luka Vega, while pushing back against censorship of the arts.

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